University lab trip for inquisitive minds

May 31, 2011

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A group of children from Applecross Primary School will be touring Murdoch University’s post harvest plant biosecurity laboratory on Friday, June 3, to learn about the harmful pests of stored grain and how they can be safely eradicated.

The Year Six and Seven pupils will get the chance to view cereal grain and oilseed, major stored grain insect pests and some plant fungi under the microscope while learning more about the security of stored grain as the threat of food shortages around the world escalates.

Dr Manjree Agarwal, who arranged the visit, said the children would also find out about the safe new green technologies used by scientists in the battle against the pests.

“We hope the tour will spark their interest in one of the many practical applications of biological science and how research and development can affect our everyday lives,” she said.

“The work we do in providing cost-effective and safe storage technology is helping to improve the profitability of Australia’s grain industry both domestically and internationally.

“Due to the ever-increasing levels of trade and human movement, exotic plant-affecting organisms pose major and ongoing threats. Biosecurity is central to the management of these threats to ensure plant and food safety.

“Biosecurity is also a growing field of activity for many science graduates involved in agriculture, the environment and international and domestic trade, so we hope the tour will illustrate how important our work is and maybe even inspire some of the children to want to be a part of it in the future.”

The pupils will be touring the lab within the School of Biological Science and Biotechnology from 10.30am to noon.

The visit is part of CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools program.

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